15 Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America

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Given that the research up to date shows an increase in the prevalence of autism in the past three decades, we at Insider Monkey thought that creating a list of cities with the highest autism rates in America would make for an interesting piece of information.

While many of us have heard about autism in media, or we know someone who is diagnosed as being autistic, there is a lack of knowledge about what autism actually is and what causes it and how it is treated. According to Autism Speaks and the Center for Disease and Control Prevention, autistic spectrum disorder is characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction across various contexts. Challenges with social skills, repetitive behavior, speech and nonverbal communication, unique strengths and differences are characteristics of autism. The term spectrum is used in order to reflect the variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person diagnosed as being autistic.

Cities with the Highest Autism Rates in America


The first symptoms of autism can be identified as early as 6 months old, however, professionals usually wait until 18 months to make a final diagnosis. Some authors claim that a definite diagnosis can’t be established until child is three years old. Various studies of autism have shown evidence that the ratio of autistic men to women ranges from 2:1 to 16:1. Autistic spectrum disorder incorporates autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and pervasive developmental disorder. People diagnosed as having Asperger’s disorder have an IQ often above the average, but still have trouble interacting with others. The first symptoms of childhood disintegrative disorder cannot be noticed until a child reaches the age of 2 or 3, where they might show signs of normal development, but at this age, social skills deteriorate and the diagnosis ensues.

Scientists and researchers still cannot provide a definite answer as to what causes autism. Some research suggests that genetic components play a significant role, however, significant components cannot only account for an increase in autism prevalence in the past few decades. For this reason, researchers are also looking into environmental factors. Vaccines are being researched as one of the causes of autism, however, the evidence gathered, as of now, is too poor to confirm the causal relation between vaccines and autism. Another component that is being researched is GMOs. Some research suggests that there is a link between glyphosate, an ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup, and autism. This ingredient is found in other pesticides and herbicides as well. While the research continues to expand so does the prevalence of autism.

Scientific American refers to the statistical data provided by U.S. Department of Education for the period 1993 to 2003. This data shows an increase of 657 percent in the nationwide rate of autism. In case you were wondering where autism is most prevalent, you should read our article on 11 Countries with the Highest Rates of Autism in the World. If you are looking for the data concerning lowest autism rates in the world, then you should check out our article 12 Developed Countries with Lowest Autism Rates. Professor Eric Fombonne suggests that it would be difficult to do a comparative study of autism rates worldwide that would include all of the countries primarily because the research on autism still has not been done in many countries. The USA, Canada and the UK are considered to be the pioneers of research on autism. He also states that different methods are applied in every study and that language and culture affect the way research is carried out.

Statistical data has once again placed New Jersey as having the highest autism rate, with 1 in 41 children being autistic. The data concerns the 12 year period, from 2000 to 2012 and it shows a steady increase in autism in the USA. Researchers provide no clear answer as to the devastating statistics of autism in New Jersey. Apart from taking into account the assumed causes of autism, they argue that changes in diagnosis and treatment, greater awareness, and better record keeping“ might explain the increase in the prevalence of autism over the years. It is difficult to determine whether the number of children with autism has increased or they are more visible than before.

Autism is a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. Given that there are variations in diagnosis, treatment should be designed to address person’s needs. Typically, autism is treated through behavioral treatments, medicines or both.

There is no data available that specifically concerns autism rates by city. Autism is found in clusters and results are presented as autism statistics by country. When creating the list of the cities with the highest autism rates in America we have taken into account autism statistics by state.  In ranking the cities we considered their population and estimated what the number of autistic people would be given the statistical data on autism. If autistic cluster maps for each state were available as well as autism statistics for more states, the research would certainly have more quality. However, apart from autism cluster map of California other cluster maps are not to be found, so this list should be taken with a pinch of salt.

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